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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Catherine Katopes to Charlie, Dena, and Jimmie, 1943

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Object ID: WV0122.4.019

Description: Katopes relates a rumor that that the WAAC has approval to be integrated into the army and speculates as to the number of WAACS who will not re-enlist with the WAC. She also notes the number of WAACs receiving overseas assignments; qualifications and training for overseas duty; and a promise to her family she wouldn't volunteer. Other topics include her work as a first sergeant organizing a detachment and her new pay grade. receiving her paycheck.

Creator: Catherine Katopes

Biographical Info:

Catherine G. Katopes (1912-1979) served in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and the Women's Army Corps from 1942 to late 1945.

Collection: Catherine G. Katopes Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text:

Dear Charlie; and Dena and Jimmie:

Being that it is the first of the month I am going to make a firm resolution to write at least every other day if not more often.

I heard an almost assured rumor yesterday morning at mess that we are in the Army and that the bill was passed. However, the papers came out with the information that only the Senate had passed the bill and that it was on the way to the White House.

This morning one of my little friends told me a secret and said that only two people knew of it on the Post. That the bill had been signed by Frankie and that we are in the Army as of yesterday but that they were not making it public. I don’t see how they can keep it secret myself.

I don’t feel any different about it but a lot of these WAACs do. Some of them have been griping more than the customary griping allowed, and they said that if they have an opportunity of getting out that they would. We all understand, though how true it may be I don’t know, that when we are taken into the Army, we will have to re-enlist and those that don’t want to do not have to. I don’t imagine very many will actually drop out even though they have said right along that they would. There are some girls the WAAC would be glad to have drop out. However, if some do drop out, they will probably enlist after the shock of being home and finding that things in Civilian life have changed a great deal since coming into the Army. Also I firmly believe they will draft women because they can actually use 600,000 WAACs. I don’t know how many companies are overseas now. There is the one in Algiers and another that is either on the High Seas or is somewhere either in Africa or Australia. And little by little they are picking Over Seas material. You have to be a good stenographer to get a look-in. but I understand you have to be able to type and also they will not send anyone on a boat who cannot swim.

All companies going overseas have special training that they aren’t even permitted to talk about but from what little we can gather, they get a thorough workout on the double all day long. I heard that they had three hours of drill a day. And of course these girls are checked thoroughly before they even transfer them to an Overseas Company.

If I wanted to go, I probably could because the classification officer here asked me if I wanted to go overseas. I told her that I would like to but that I had sort of promised my family I wouldn’t ask to go myself; that if the Army wanted to send me that that was a different thing. She said that since there was a choice allowed a girl, that if she had an obligation like that, it would be silly not to observe it. Besides I want to go overseas when the reconstruction begins.

When my work starts to become pressing, I just can’t concentrate on writing letters and I have a morning report to send down to Headquarters.

So far we are working the Detachment like this: We have Jean Waiter as the First Sergeant and the C.O. and Executive Officer, who is Lt. Owen, and the Supply Officer, Lt. Koehl, all down in the Headquarters office down the end of the road here.

I keep my rating and am running with the help of an officer Section II of the detachment in which we have a barracks full of cooks and Mess Sergeants, half a barracks full of girls who work in Personnel, half a barracks full of girls who work in the different offices on the post right around us here. Then we also are taking over the Band Barracks which is next door. So actually when the change took place, 120 girls moved out of our barracks and we picked up two hundred new names. And a roster had to be made. It would have been very simple had the cooks checked in at the orderly room but they had been living in the barracks a few days before the change took place and were under the charge of the 82nd WAAC Mess Co. So it was difficult for me to find out actually how many girls there were up there because half go to work at 4:00 o’clock in the morning and the other half at 11:00 A.M.

But finally I finished a roster last night. My desk is so covered with papers, I don’t know where I am at but I think things will begin to clear today now that I have a roster of the personnel in this section and know who should be here.

It has been a little cooler these past few days which is a blessing because I worked from early morning to after bedcheck for the past few days. Since Saturday. I could crawl into a bed and sleep for a week I betcha.

Oh yes. I got paid yesterday and received my first pay as a First Sergeant. Received $126.80 less deduction of $18.75 for a bond. Was appointed a First Sergeant on the 9th of the month and that’s why I didn’t get the full pay of $138.00. I have been thinking of having at $50.00 bond deducted from now on and as soon as I have a chance I am going over to the Post Office to send home some of this money to put in my checking account.

Must stop now but should my resolution to write often fail me, please have a bit of patience with me. I keep thinking of all the letters I have that need answering. At least people are awfully nice that they keep writing to me though I don’t answer often.

Enough for now and so Au Revoir.